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This business displeased me, and 1 felt a strong inclination for a sea life; but my father set his face against it. The vicinity of the water, however, gave me frequent opportunities of venturing myself both upon and within it, and I soon acquired the art of swimming, and of managing a boat. When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly deputed to me, particularly on difficult occasions: and, in every other project, I was almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in embarrassments. I shall give an instance of this which demonstrates an early disposition of mind for public enterprises, though the one in question was not conducted by justice.

The mill pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon the borders of which we were accustomed to take our stand, at high water, to angle for small fish. By dint of walking, we had converted the place into a perfect quagmire. My proposal was to erect a wharf that should afford us firm footing; and I pointed out to my companions a large heap of stones, intended for the building of a new house near the marsh, and which were well adapted for our purpose. Ac

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I remained, however, scarcely a year at the grammar-school, although, in this short interval, I had risen froin the middle to the head of my class, from thence to the class immediately above, and was to pass, at the end of the year, to the one next in order. But my father, burdened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expenses of a collegiate education; and considering, besides, as 1 heard him say to his friends, that persons so educated were often poorly provided for, he renounced his first intentions, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brownwell, who was a skilful master, and succeeded very well in his profession by employing gentle means only, and such as were calculated to encourage his scholars. Under him I soon acquired an excellent hand; but 1 failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.

At ten years of age, I was called home to assist my father in his occupation, which was that of a soap-boiler and tallow-chandler; a business to which he had served no apprenticeship, but which he embraced on his arrival in New England, because he found his own, that of a dyer, in too little request to enable him to maintain his family. I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the moulds, taking care of the shop, carrying messages, &c.

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cordingly, when the workmen retired in the evening, f assembled a number of my playfellows, and by labouring diligently, like ants, sometimes four of us uniting our strength to carry a single stone, we removed them all, and constructed our little quay. The workmen were surprised the next morning at not finding their stones; which had been conveyed to our wharf. Inquiries were made respecting the authors of this conveyance; we were discovered; complaints were exhibited against us; and many of us underwent correction on the part of our parents; and though I strenuously defended the utility of the work, my father at length convinced me, that nothing which was not strictly honest could be useful.

It will not, perhaps, be uninteresting to you to know what sort of man my father was. He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle size, but well made and strong, and extremely active in whatever he undertook. He designed with a degree of neatness, and knew a little of music. His voice was sonorous and agreeable; so that when he sung a psalm or hymn, with the accompaniment of his violin, as was his frequent practice in the evening, when the labours of the day were finished, it was truly delightful to hear him. He was versed also in mechanics, and could, upon occasion, use the tools of a variety of trades. But his greatest excellence was a sound understanding and solid judgment, in matters of prudence, both in public and private life. In the former indeed he never engaged, because his numerous family, and the mediocrity of his fortune, kept him unremittingly employed in the duties of his profession. But I well remember, that the leading men of the place used frequently to come and ask his advice respecting the affairs of the town, or of the church to which he belonged, and that they paid much deference to his opinion. Individuals were also in the habit of consulting him in their private affairs, and he was often chosen arbiter between contending parties.

He was fond of having at his table, as often as possible, some friends or well informed neighbours, capable of rational conversation, and he was always careful to introduce useful or ingenious topics of discourse, which might tend to form the minds of his children. By this means he early attracted our attention to what was just, prudent, and beneficial in the conduct of life.

e never talked of the meats which appeared upon e table, never discussed whether they were well or dressed, of a good or bad flavour, high seasoned, or herwise, preferable or inferior to this or that dish of

I remained, however, scarcely a year at the grammar-school, although, in this short interval, I had risen from the middle to the head of my class, from thence to the class immediately above, and was to pass, at the end of the year, to the one next in order. But my father, burdened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expenses of a collegiate education; and considering, besides, as 1 heard him say to his friends, that persons so educated were often poorly provided for, he renounced his first intentions, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, ept by a Mr. George Brownwell, who was a skilful master, and succeeded very well in his profession by employing gentle means only, and such as were calculated to encourage his scholars. Under him I soon acquired an excellent hand; but 1 failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.

At ten years of age, I was called home to assist my father in his occupation, which was that of a soap-boiler and tallow-chandler; a business to which he had served no apprenticeship, but which he embraced on his arrival in New England, because he found his own, that of a dyer, in too little request to enable him to maintain his family. I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the moulds, taking care of the shop, carrying messages, &c.

This business displeased me, and 1 felt a strong inclination for a sea life; but my father set his face against it. The vicinity of the water, however, gave me frequent opportunities of venturing myself both upon and within it, and I soon acquired the art of swimming, and of managing a boat. When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly deputed to me, particularly on difficult occasions: and, in every other project, I was almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in embarrassments. I shall give an instance of this which demonstrates an early disposition of mind for public enterprises, though the one in question was not conducted by justice.

The mill pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon the borders of which we were accustomed to take our stand, at high water, to angle for small fish. By dint of walking, we had converted the place into a perfect quagmire. My proposal was to erect a wharf that should afford us firm footing; and I pointed out to my companions a large heap of stones, intended for the building of a new house near the marsh, and which were well adapted for our purpose. Ac

offered me, I might play the truant and escape to sea; as, to his extreme mortification, my brother Josias had done. He therefore took me sometimes to see masons, coopers, braziers, joiners, and other mechanics, employed at their work; in order to discover the bent of my inclination, and fix it if he could upon some occupation that might retain me on shore. I have since, in consequence of these visits, derived no small pleasure from seeing skilful workmen handle their tools and it has proved of considerable benefit, to have acquired thereby sufficient knowledge to be able to make little things for myself, when I have had no mechanic at hand, and to construct small machines for my experimeuts, while the I have conceived has bee fresh and strongly impressed on my imagination.

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My father at length decided that I should be a cutler, and I was placed for some days upon trial with my cousin Samuel, son of my uncle Benjamin, who had learned this trade in London, and had established himself at Boston. But the premium he required for my apprenticeship displeasing my father, I was recalled home.

From my earliest years I had been passionately fond of reading, and I laid out in books all the money I could procure. I was particularly pleased with accounts of voyages. My first acquisition was Bunyan's collection in small separate volumes. These I afterwards sold in order to buy an historical collection by R. Burton, which consisted of small cheap volumes, amounting in all to about forty or fifty. My father's little library was principally made up of books of practical and polemical theology. I read the greatest part of them. I have since often regretted, that at a time when I had so great a thirst for knowledge, more eligible books had not fallen into my hands, as it was then a point decided that I should not be educated for the church. There was also among my father's books Plutarch's Lives, in which I read continually, and I still regard as advantageously employed the time I devoted to them. I found besides a work of De Foe's, entitled an Essay on Projects from which, perhaps, Í derived impressions that have since influenced some of the principal events of my life.

My inclination for books at last determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already a son in that profession. My brother had returned from England in 1717, with a press and types, in order to establish a printing-house at Boston. This business pleased me much better than that of my father, though I had still a predilection for the sea. To prevent the

effects which might result from this inclination, my father was impatient to see me engaged with my brother. I held back for some time; at length, however, I suffered myself to be persuaded, and signed my indéntures, being then only twelve years of age. It was agreed that I should serve as an apprentice to the age of twenty-one, and should receive journeyman's wages only during the last year.

In a very short time I made great proficiency in this business, and became sery serviceable to my brother. 1 had now an opportunity of procuring better books The acquaintance I necessarily formed with bookselJers' apprentices, enabled me to borrow a volume now and then, which I never failed to return punctually and without injury. How often has it happened to me to pass the greater part of the night in reading by my bedside, when the book had been lent me in the evening, and was to be returned the next morning, lest it might be missed or wanted.

At length Mr. Matthew Adams, an ingenious tradesman, who had a handsome collection of books, and who frequented our printing-house, took notice of me. He invited me to see his library, and had the goodness to lend me any books I was desirous of reading. I then took a strange fancy for poetry, and composed several little pieces. My brother, thinking he might find his account in it, encouraged me and engaged ine to write two ballads. One, called the Light-House Tragedy, contained an account of the shipwreck of Captain Worthilake, and his two daughters: the other was a sailor's song on the capture of the noted pirate : called Teach, or Black-Beard. They were wretched verses in point of style, mere blindmen's ditties. When printed, he despatched me about the town to sell them. The first had a prodigious run, because the event was recent, and made a great noise.

My vanity was flattered by this success; but my father checked my exultation, by ridiculing my productions, and telling me that versifiers were always poor. I thus escaped the misfortune of being a very wretched poet. But as the faculty of writing prose has been of great service to me, in the course of my life, and principally contributed to my advancement, I shall relate by what means, situated as I was, I acquired the small skill I may possess in that way.

There was in the town another young man, a great lover of books, of the name of John Collins, with whom I was intimately connected. We frequently engaged in dispute, and were indeed so fond of argumentation, that nothing was so agreeable to us as a

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